Picking up stitches for a button band

Sharing buttons:

this week's video is on picking up

stitches for button band

as always if you'd like to jump directly

to a specific point in the video there

are direct links down in the description

last week we talked about picking up

stitches along a vertical edge when the

existing fabric and the new fabric were

the same stitch pattern garter stitch

stockinette or is talking it like fabric

on vertical edges you don't pick up one

stitch for every row the way you pick up

one for one along horizontal edges

instead you end up skipping picking up

stitches at the ends of some rows we

talked about how for stockinette those

common ratios are up in two stitches for

every three rows or three stitches for

every four rows the process for picking

up stitches for a button band is similar

but you have to take into account that

the stitch pattern used for this button

bin is likely to be different then the

stitch pattern used for the body of the

sweater stitch patterns commonly used

for button bands are ribbing garter

stitch and seed stitch ribbing causes

the fabric to pull in compressing the

stitch gauge while garter stitch and

seed stitch have compressed row gauges

which cause the stitches to spread wider

in addition button bands are frequently

knit on needles that are smaller than

than those used for the body of the


since stitch pattern and needle size can

affect stitch gauge the number of

stitches that you need to pick up for a

button band may not be the same as what

you would pick up for a fabric that was

knit in the same stitch pattern so how

do you calculate the number of stitches

you need to pick up along a vertical

edge for a button band well the process

is basically the same as for any

vertical edge first multiply the stitch

gauge of the new piece of fabric by the

length of the vertical edge to give you

the exact number of stitches needed

second use an easy ratio for picking up

stitches to get you through the initial

pick up process an easy ratio has you

consistently pick up the same number of

consecutive stitches before skipping a

stitch so for stockinette that easy

ratio is usually two stitches for every

three rows or three stitches for every

four rows third compare the number of

stitches you have picked up using your

easy ratio to

the number of stitches you actually need

and then increase or decrease

accordingly in the first row of the

stitch pattern as a review of how that

works for stockinette let's look at an

example stockinette gauge is five

stitches and seven rows per inch and the

vertical edge is ten inches long

therefore you need to pick up stitches

at a rate of five stitches per inch and

five stitches per inch times ten inches

is fifty stitches you have 70 rows but

you need to pick up 50 stitches if you

use the two to three ratio to pick up


you'll end up with about forty seven

stitches you could then increase three

stitches on the first row to bring the

count up to fifty alternatively using

the three to four ratio would result in

52 or 53 stitches in that case you could

decrease a couple of stitches in the

first row regardless by the end of the

first pattern row you would end up with

the correct number of stitches so how do

we apply this technique to button bands

that would be knit in ribbing garter

stitch or seed stitch for ribbing worked

in the same needle size used for the

body of the sweater you can use the same

pick up number that you would use for

stockinette but you may need to adjust

your total stitch count based on how you

balance the stitch pattern for example

with knit one purl one ribbing you might

want all of the edges top and bottom to

start an end with knit one so you'd need

an odd number of stitches for knit two

purl two ribbing which is a multiple of

four stitches you might want all your

edges to start with knit two on the

right side of the fabric so you'd need a

multiple of four stitches plus two extra

to make that happen for ribbing my

preference is to always add the extra

stitches needed rather than subtracting


if you happen to know your stockinette

gauge is on those smaller needles you

can use that stitch gauge as your guide

for the number of stitches per inch to

pick up along the edge but if you don't

then you need to swatch you can swatch

and stockinette or you can swatch in

ribbing on the needles that you'd like

to use so here I have ribbing in three

different sizes this is the ribbing that

was worked on the same sized needles as

the stockinette this is two sizes

smaller and this is another two sizes

smaller so they were these are all 22

stitches and you can see that they're

all different lengths so the pick up

ratio is going to be different for each

of them as well so to figure out your

ratio for ribbing you do a little swatch

of the ribbing you lay out a certain

amount of stitches on the vertical edge

I've got three inches here because this

little sample isn't very long and then I

took my ribbing and I pinned it down so

it lined up with one edge here and then

I stretched at the amount that I thought

was appropriate so you want to stretch

it out so that the the ribbing lays flat

but the fabric is not actually stretched

out so so then I pinned that here and

then I can count up the number of

stitches that I had here so here I have

about 17 stitches and I've marked out

three inches here which was 21 rows so

it would be 17 stitches and 21 rows and

I would pick up accordingly once you

figure out what that that ratio is that

you want to pick up for the entire

button band you can practice on a

shorter span of stitches just to make

sure that it's going to lay the way that

you would like and that the the edge

isn't pulling in too much or that isn't

going to be too floppy so when I made

this button band I picked up about this

many stitches and I knit a sample band

to see how wide I really wanted it and

to see whether I liked this particular


because garter stitch and seed stitch

have compressed row gauges that cause

the stitches to widen many knitters need

to pick up fewer stitches than they

would for stockinette when using the

same size needles for myself I know that

if I use the needle two sizes smaller I

can get the same stitch gauge and garter

that I got was stockinette on the larger

needles but this wasn't always true for

me in my old knitting style I would get

the same stitch gauge with the same

needles whether I was knitting

stockinette garter or seed stitch so you

need to swatch to know what your stitch

gauge is these two swatches are both 22

stitches wide net in garter stitch on

two different needle sizes this one is

the same size needle that it was used to

knit the stockinette and this one is two

sizes smaller you determine which fabric

you like and when you just determine

which fabric you like then you determine

then you look at the stitch gauge for

that piece of fabric and then from there

you calculate the ratio you need to pick

up along the edge if your garter stitch

gauge is 4.5 stitches per inch and your

row gauge on that vertical edge is 7

rows per inch then you will need to pick

up 4.5 stitches every 7 rows for a 10

inch edge you will need to pick up a

total of 45 stitches ok but how do you

even figure out what your easy ratio is

when you have a 4 point 5 to 7 ratio to

find the stitch gauge you're using for

the button band buy the row gauge of the

vertical band in this case you divide 4

point 5 by 7 and you get 0.6 for now

compare that to these easy pick up

ratios you can see that point 6 4 is

very close to the 2 to 3 ratio of 0.67

so use 2 2 3 as your easy pickup rate

then decrease the very few extra

stitches you'll end up with on that

first pattern row ok so now you know how

to calculate the total number of

stitches you need to pick up and how to

figure out what your easy pick up ratio

is but you may be wondering

why I suggested using a smaller needle

size for garter stitch and seed stitch

because they tend to spread but I didn't

suggest using a larger needle size for

ribbing even though I said that it pulls

in rib stitches are typically larger

than their stockinette counter points

when they're knit on the same size

needles there's more slack between rib

stitches than stockinette stitches from

switching the yarn position back and

forth and that slack works itself into

the stitches enlarging them since the

stitches are already larger that is

enough to compensate rather than

changing needle sizes one reason

knitters frequently use smaller needle

sizes for ribbing is in order to make

the stitches more equal in size to the

stockinette stitches in that case you

end up having to pick up more stitches

in order to combat the ribbons desire to

pull in this watch isn't it on needles

two sizes smaller than the stockinette

and they are much closer in size

once you know the total number of

stitches that you need to pick up along

that vertical edge you can use any

strategy you like in order to get

yourself to the correct total number of

stitches you don't have to use that easy

ratio and then correct on the first row

of pattern I offered several strategies

last week for how you can arrive at the

correct number well that's it for this

week next week I'll be demonstrating how

to pick up stitches in the center of the

fabric rather than along an edge if

you'd like to see the rest of the videos

in this particular series there's a link

to a playlist right up there above my

head and if you haven't subscribed to my

channel already I'd really appreciate it

if you did you can either hover over my

face over here and then click on the

subscribe button when it pops up or if

you're on a mobile device you can just

tap on my face and then click on

subscribe thanks for watching I'll see

you next week